Lifestyle

Why I ❤️ caravanning

Vicky Lindsay Warburton was as surprised as everyone else when she became a caravan owner. Now she’s pleased as punch and looking for fast (60mph max) adventures on the open road.

One joy of caravanning is not having to leave the pets at home.

I never went caravanning as a kid. Never stayed in a static caravan. Caravanners were the beige brigade dragging their gleaming cream globules behind their Ford Orions. Therefore, it came as a shock when in the same week I had my first child, I became a caravan owner.

Normal dads-to-be prepare for the incoming life form and massive life change. My chap sourced a house on wheels. It cost us 650 quid – I have friends whose tents cost more than that.

There are around half a million touring caravans in the UK. For the uninitiated and those so extremely posh they aren’t even sure how to pronounce it, here’s a handy guide to caravan (ca-ra-van) jargon: a Tourer means it moves – it’s dragged around by your car. A static is well, static, still, never moves. Initiation complete.

Our first van was THE MONZA (1989 model). Bijou (minuscule), it was the size of a double bed and loo on wheels. When our daughter was six weeks old we had our first trip, 20 miles away to Lofthouse. It was Easter and it snowed. We had a plug-in heater as big as your mouth and that was it, but in those first baby weeks it provided much needed liberation. Since that weekend we’ve never looked back and have pulled our ‘house on wheels’ to locations as far ranging as The Dales, The Peak District, France and even Spain.

“It’s a great bonding experience for families, friends and ‘established’ lovers! YOU CANNOT WEE OR TRUMP QUIETLY IN A CARAVAN.”

Holidays are for fun. Holidays with young children are ‘an experience’. Holidays eventually mutate into a fun experience. In a caravan there’s never a dull moment: it’s a cheap, wholesome way to entertain young children who couldn’t care less if you’re in a 5-star resort. The scenery is stunning; walks of any length are in abundance, there’s usually a good pub, café or market in the vicinity and it’s wallet friendly.

Yes a trip can be hard work: the packing, the unpacking, the rummaging in endless tiny cupboards, extracting concertina furniture ready to mercilessly rip a finger nail off and trap an unsuspecting digit or bollock. The washing up of normal sized plates in a sink not big enough to stretch the palm of your hand out. The dragging out of THE BEDS. The putting away of THE BEDS. The sheets, the duvet, the attempted repacking and squeezing in of bedding and all excess paraphernalia. The table, where the fuck did that even come from? The uneven ground, the sheer volume of the night wee, finding the toilet in the night, the kids falling out of bed… Oh it goes on. But nine years on, we’re still at it.

What's that peeping over the hill? Is it a caravan? Yes, it's a caravan.

What’s that peeping over the hill? Is it a caravan? Yes, it’s a caravan.

Once you’ve done it once it gets easier. There will be those of you out there nodding your heads and I salute you my brethren, my ‘pack it away’, organisational soul searchers. You know what I know. It’s liberating, exhilarating, a break from the norm and the GREAT outdoors feeds your rat race-zapped soul.

Studies show that rates of depression and anxiety are lowered through close proximity to greenery, such as parks and green spaces, so just imagine what living in a Wi-Fi-free field does for you.

Days in fields makes you slow down. Stop. Appreciate. Or if not appreciate just slow your pace. You’re thrown back to survival basics.

Even a washed-out weekend doesn’t mean death is imminent. You’ll miss your creature comforts for a few nights, but when you do get back you’ll be grateful for what you have failed to notice for years, ie the joy of running water, a proper toilet, space and your own bed. When I start disappearing up my own arse wondering whether my plug sockets are dated, I know it’s time for a caravan trip.

Shopping centres are packed, every weekend. (What the hell is everyone buying?) There are so many empty fields out there it’s flabbergasting. Give your cash to a farmer or someone running a small campsite. It’s a great bonding experience for families, friends and ‘established’ lovers! YOU CANNOT WEE OR TRUMP QUIETLY IN A CARAVAN.

As members of the Camping and Caravanning Club (yes, we were mercilessly mocked nine years ago when we joined, but now those mockerfuckers are joining!), you can select sites suited to you. We only go to certified sites, which tend to be small farms with basic facilities – maybe only toilets and running water, sometimes no electric hook ups (which in mid-summer you realise aren’t essential).

“Normal dads-to-be prepare for the incoming life form and massive life change. My chap sourced a house on wheels.”

Over the years we upgraded that first caravan purchase to a grander model with bunk beds at the rear. This spacious beast cost £1,500 (still no heating and questionable electrics) and has been our workhorse for a while now.

I saw this new van was just another grimy, shabby box we’d been dirtying and decided that, with a little TLC, I could polish this turd into a space we were proud of. With the help of the world’s greatest seamstress (aka the mother-in-law), it got a funky makeover. A lick of paint, new curtains, cupboard handles and checkerboard floor-tiles and now it’s a god-damn boutique hotel on wheels… almost.

So if you pass us on the motorway edging along, don’t get annoyed at our 60mph speed limit we’re just minding our own business, off to seek a field and a fun experience, slowing down our life-pace. Join us! I’ll put the electric kettle on, because, really, who can be arsed boiling water in a pan?

@GingerWarby

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Written by Vicky Lindsay Warburton

Vicky is reintegrating back into society as her children are now in school. She teaches mindfulness to teenagers, wears trainers and paddles through the nonsense of life.